You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Second fatal crash in Dayton Air Show history

Fatal air show crash first in U.S. this year.

Saturday’s fatal crash at the Vectren Dayton Air Show is the second in the show’s 40-year history.

The crash Saturday was the first in the U.S. in 2013, a year when many air shows were cancelled because of the federal budget cuts. But it followed a deadly year for crashes in 2011 and 2012.

The previous fatal crash at the Dayton air show occurred in 2007. Aerobatic pilot Jim LeRoy died in a crash in which he was later found to be at fault. LeRoy failed to maintain clearance from the ground during an acrobatics routine and crashed his 400-horsepower, single-seat biplane, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The safety board found that “smoke oil” present in the air where the performers were flying also contributed to the crash.

LeRoy’s yellow Bulldog Pitts continued from a spiral spin into the ground, slid 300 feet and burst into flames shortly after 2:30 p.m. LeRoy was part of a two-plane aerobatics team known as Codename: Mary’s Lamb.

“He pulled up too late and the plane pancaked into the ground. It looked like the fellow just tried to pull out too late,” John Dickerson, an amateur pilot from Lebanon, said in 2007.

LeRoy, 46, of Lake City, Fla., was killed immediately by the 200-mph crash impact.

Stephanie Owens of Kettering watched from the Dayton Daily News observation area as trucks arrived and put out the flames with foam, then pulled out and evacuated LeRoy by Black Hawk helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital.

“Time stood still,” Owens said after the crash.

The announcer identified himself as a former pastor and led the crowd in a prayer. Parents were asked to have their children turn away.

Dr. Jim Brown, resident director of the Wright State University School of Medicine at the time, accompanied two army medics on the Black Hawk. LeRoy was pronounced dead before the helicopter touched down on top of the hospital.

LeRoy’s death was announced at a 4 p.m. press conference and the final performance of the day, by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, was canceled. The crowd was sent home.

At the time, Clair Potter, a former Dayton Air Show official, and Timothy R. Gaffney, former aviation reporter for the Dayton Daily News, both said they could not recall any prior fatal plane crash in the history of the show, which began in 1975 as the Dayton Air Fair.

Gaffney also said he could not recall any crashes during past shows that could have rendered a plane unflyable.

In LeRoy’s crash, contributing factors listed by the NTSB included the “pilot’s restricted ability to see the terrain” and “smoke oil” – commonly distributed by aerobatic performers as a special effect - present in the air where the performers were flying.

Like this year’s crash, the 2007 accident occurred on a Saturday, cancelling the remainder of the events that day. But the show returned on Sunday to big crowds, with the Thunderbirds again closing out the show.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

Pike County victim not eligible for state funds because of drugs
Pike County victim not eligible for state funds because of drugs

The state of Ohio turned down a request for victim’s compensation from the brother-in-law of one of the victims of the Pike County killings because of evidence of a marijuana growing operation at the crime scene, state records show. Records obtained by the I-Team show David Weisel, brother-in-law to Christopher Rhoden Sr., applied in May 2016...
High school student hits teacher with paper airplane, faces 1 month in jail
High school student hits teacher with paper airplane, faces 1 month in jail

A South Carolina high school student accused of throwing a paper airplane that hit a teacher in the eye could face up to a month of jail time, according to South Strand News. Georgetown County sheriff's deputies arrested a 17-year-old student after his teacher, Edward McIver, said he had been hit by a paper airplane thrown by the high schooler, the...
Trump names his choice for Air Force secretary
Trump names his choice for Air Force secretary

A former congresswoman and Air Force Academy graduate will be nominated to become the next secretary of the Air Force, the Trump administration said Monday. Former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., an Air Force officer in Europe at the height of the Cold War of the 1980s, was nominated by President Donald J. Trump for the highest civilian post in the...
Lifetime's Britney Spears biopic trailer released
Lifetime's Britney Spears biopic trailer released

The first trailer for "Britney Ever After," Lifetime's TV movie biopic on pop icon Britney Spears was posted Monday morning on the network's social media pages. Mashable reported that the trailer is somewhat somber, focusing on on Spears' publicized struggles with fame. Using shots of British actress Natasha Bassett portraying Spears as a...
Arthur Blank to send all Falcons employees to Super Bowl
Arthur Blank to send all Falcons employees to Super Bowl

Atlanta Falcons franchise owner Arthur Blank plans to take all of the team's employees to Houston for the Super Bowl. The team employs about 500 people. No further details of Blank's plans were available on Monday, the day after the Falcons beat the Packers for the NFC championship. The Falcons will play the AFC champion New England Patriots in the...
More Stories